NAIDOC Week (National Aborigines and Islanders Day Observance Committee) takes place from the first Sunday in July to the following Sunday, celebrating the history, culture and achievements of Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander peoples.
NAIDOC Week is a time for Hannah Taylor – 1800RESPECT’s National Disability Pathways Manager – to celebrate family and her culture. Hannah is a proud Kamilaroi woman, whose grandfather, a proud Kamilaroi man, was like many of her community, a part of the stolen generation.
Growing up, Hannah heard her family tell stories of her father’s journey of being Aboriginal in rural QLD in the 60’s and the complexities and inter-generational trauma of this time.
With these stories and a strong connection to her culture, Hannah has proudly represented her culture and community in Indigenous Parliaments, she was the first Aboriginal CEO of a Domestic and Family violence service and the first Aboriginal in the University she attended, to complete her Masters.
Hannah and her father at a NAIDOC event in 2018.
Hannah proudly represents her community at 1800RESPECT and ensures they are central during project design and consultations.
“NAIDOC is an opportunity for Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people and non- Indigenous people to remember that Indigenous Australian’s were the first voices in this nation, and to pay respect to the keepers of the land. It is a beautiful time where my family and I get together to celebrate our community, traditions and our heritage”.
Hannah with her father and her cousins/sisters. Hannah says her father is a pillar and Elder in the community who call him Uncle/Dad.
1800RESPECT – part of Medibank – is a counselling service, providing support, information and counselling to those experiencing sexual assault, and domestic or family violence, as well third parties such as family, friends and colleagues.
One of Hannah Taylor’s projects is to work closely with Indigenous stakeholders to improve access to the service and make 1800RESPECT more culturally safe and accessible to Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander communities.
“My team and I have travelled to and spoken with many remote communities this year. Through speaking with Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, we are learning ways to ensure 1800RESPECT is a service that is safe and accessible.”
“For there to be change in the space of domestic and family violence in our communities, Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people, Elders and Communities need to be at the table. We have the Cultural solutions to these issues and it is great that 1800RESPECT, understands this.
“It’s not just about consultation, it’s about inclusion. There’s a difference.”
This year’s NAIDOC Week theme is ‘Voice. Treaty. Truth’.
The theme has strong links to the work Hannah is doing with 1800RESPECT.
“Because of people’s voices and stories, we can continue to ensure 1800RESPECT is accessible to everyone of all backgrounds and abilities.”
“We have recently developed cultural training for our counsellors. The training shows us how to respond to all callers through the lens of cultural safety, intersectionality and removal of bias. We also identify the complexity of intergenerational trauma and how this impacts people like myself and my community, even today.
“The training focuses on a holistic concept of identity, recognising that we are made up of our culture, kinship, community, spirituality, and we are all connected. Rather than our identities being individualistic, which is a part of the western culture, we are very holistically connected. We are connected to the earth, the spirits, other people and those gone before us.”
Hannah with her cousin at the Young Achievers Awards.
When asked where her passion for the work she does with 1800RESPECT comes from, Hannah says her passion is founded in the trailblazers gone before her. She has seen her ancestors fight for equality, a voice, truth and justice; and she is passionate about promoting healing and equality.
“Through training and education, we are continuing to demolish preconceived ideas and biases towards Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people. We have a beautiful culture. Our heritage is something to be extremely proud of. At the core of education and advocacy, we are ensuring all communities have a truthful view of our people. Our culture is founded in connection, community, hope, truth and healing, and I am honoured as a proud Aboriginal woman to be in a position to do the work I do.”